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Crisp Pork Belly with Turnip Purée and Vermouth-Soused Prunes

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A distinctly South African take on classic pork belly served with brown sugar and vermouth syruped prunes.

  • Makes : 6 |
  • Difficulty:

  • Prep Time : 30 mins |
  • Cook Time : 1:30 hours
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Crispy Pork Belly
1,2 kg pork belly
a splash of white wine vinegar
2 Tbsp (30 ml) sea salt flakes
2 tsp (10 ml) freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp (20 ml) ground fennel seeds

Turnip Purée
400 g turnips, peeled and roughly chopped (turnips can be replaced with the same amount of celeriac or cauliflower)
1 medium potato, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and roughly chopped
1 C (250 ml) milk
150 g butter

Vermouth Prunes
18 prunes
50 g brown sugar
½ C (125 ml) dry vermouth

To Serve
3 celery sticks, shaved

Crispy Pork Belly
Preheat the oven to 220°C.

Score the skin of the pork belly with a sharp knife and rub generously with white wine vinegar. Sprinkle the scored skin with salt and then rub the meat side of the belly with salt, pepper and ground fennel.

Place on a roasting tray and cook, uncovered, in the oven at 220 ºC for 20 minutes to crisp the crackling. Then reduce the oven temperature to
160 ºC and continue to cook until golden and tender. This should take around 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Turnip Purée

Place the turnips, potato and apple in a saucepan over medium heat and add the milk. Add a little water to just cover and cook, uncovered, until the vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes.

Strain off the liquid but reserve it and set aside to add later if needed. Blend the vegetables using a stick blender until smooth; add the butter as you go to make a rich, thick purée. Use a little of the reserved boiling liquid to help blend the purée; add a little at a time and adjust to get the right consistency.

Vermouth Prunes
Place the prunes in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil until soft, roughly 5 minutes. Drain enough water off to just leave the base of the saucepan covered and then add the sugar and vermouth. Cook for another 5-6 minutes over high heat until glazed and syrupy.

Serve slices of pork belly with the turnip purée and spoon over the prunes. Garnish with freshly shaved celery.